Tuesday, July 19, 2016

88: Bringing in the sheaves

We have really lucked out on the weather here in Michigan. Today was delightful. It was not hot, not cold. Not raining, not blowing too hard. Even a bit of wind behind us, which we always love. Given that it could have been 100 degrees up here, we feel really fortunate indeed
Sunrise on the road

We started out early today, as we had a long day ahead. One advantage of starting early is that you can view some wonderful sunrises. Of course, the disadvantage is that you have to rise so early! 

The combine cuts the wheat and threshes it, filling a hopper

Drafting the baler
After riding past the fields for a thousand miles, we finally were able to witness the farmers harvesting wheat.
Being overtaken by a baler

After cutting, the stalks come out to be baled up later

In fact, one of the baling machines came up behind us on the road, and of course Roger jumped on it, to the effect that we were able to draft it for a mile or so, and did some 20 mph for a time. Didn't last long, but it was fun!

There are a few impressions of Michigan I need to capture before we head over the border to Canada. One is that there is SO MUCH WATER in this state. Of course, since it sits between two of the great lakes, we know that there is a lot of shoreline. But the interior is also full of water. There are marshes in the woods everywhere, and tons of little lakes. My friend Marcy has a place on one such little lake, near Dowagiac, and we must have passed another 20 or 30 on our route just like it. Cute little cottages, simple resorts, some grand places but mostly just folks enjoying the coolness that comes with water. 

We have been intrigued by the red wing blackbirds that seem to escort us away from their territory or their nests. If you pay any attention to birds, you know that the hawks are often harried by smaller birds that want to get them to leave the area. So I have been amused when we are riding along and a blackbird is flying overhead, calling and cawing and obviously agitated by us, and hurrying us along!
Flat - and lots of lawn!

Michigan near the thumb is "flat as a pancake" and when you hear that from a cyclist, you know it's something. We had only gained 156 feet in our first 26 miles yesterday, and today we went 86 miles and climbed only 689.  So that's REALLY flat. Also flat as a pancake were all the poor animals along the roadside. I started to call this post "The MI 90 Massacre" based on all the roadkill we passed. It boggles the mind. 

Given that there were not many cars on the road, I had to wonder how so many animals came to their end out there. Is it possible that they spend the night hours partying out on the macadam, and thus increase their odds of being hit?  Otherwise, it staggers the mind to think how the randomness of one car and one poor beastie could so often occupy the same space and time. Of course, the animals never win that one!
Teasle - as wicked as it looks!

One of the other plants that has now appeared is teasel. It has wicked spurs and thorns. Long ago, women would use the dried heads of the plant to comb cotton or wool.  
We are staying tonight in Marine City, which was a shipbuilding city at the turn of the last century. Still quite prosperous, to see the lovely homes here. 
Our digs for the night - the Heather House B and B
Oh Canada - right over the river

Dinner at a seafood restaurant, and watching the moon rise over the St Clair River, which is all that stands between us and Canada.  Tomorrow we will head over there, and ride the northern shore of Lake Erie, eh?

The day's report:  Otter Lake to Marine City, 86.1 miles/4422 to date.

1 comment:

  1. Beautiful home...could easily pass for one in downtown Redlands!


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